Chevrolet Cruze LT 1.8, Chevrolet Cruze 1.6 S Review
Cruisin' along fine...

Story & pictures by Azfar Hashim, in Shanghai
25 Apr 2009
 

It has the substance to wow buyers, but will badge conscious Singaporeans give in? Well, they should once the Cruze arrives here

Chevrolet Cruze

They say good things always come to an end.

But in the case of Chevrolet, good things are coming to a good start instead. There's no denying the bare fact that the financial issues they are facing now is giving consumers mixed feelings about the company, and ultimately, their range of products.

However, you have to give them credit for their strength in going through what must go down their history books as "the toughest period" - and their strong showing at Auto Shanghai 2009 is definitely a good sign. 37 vehicles representing 31 models by its five core brands, the Asian debut of its close-to-production concept vehicle, and a press grilling session with their top executives - that's quite a whole lot of damage control GM is doing.

It seems to be all positive.

Now if you think the arrival of the Chevrolet Cruze is just a vain effort to capture buyer's attention, that is utterly nonsensical. Mind you, the Cruze has been in GM's development diary for quite some time, and why it took so long to arrive is simply because Chevrolet wants to churn out a competitive sedan to battle it out in this very lucrative segment. After all, the Optra has a strong following everywhere it went - so coming out with a product that's (a) better than its predecessor and (b) on par with current hot sellers, are vital.

Especially at a time like now, where it needs to have strong products to sell well. Hence, I was given the opportunity to sample their latest Cruze sedan, in both 1.6-litre and 1.8-litre guise nonetheless.

Aesthetics

Well this is the new face of Chevrolet, so the gaping grill with the golden bowtie sitting comfortably at the centre is something that you'll have to get used to. It was first seen on the Aveo5 last year and got mixed feelings even among us motoring journalists. Suffice to say, it kinda grew on us and so what's seen on the Cruze is, pretty much, acceptable.

Flanked by headlamps that have cues of the Epica, the Cruze seem to resemble a much younger and sportier version of the former. Plus with a width of 1,797mm, it does give off an intimidating stance when you see it appearing on your rear-view mirrors.

Viewed from the sides, you won't be wrong if you deem the Cruze "long". At 4,598mm, it's longer than the Cerato Forte (4,530mm), Civic (4,550mm) and even Corolla Altis (4,540mm). It gets flared wheel arches on all four corners and pronounced lines on both sides as well, and that goes a long way in giving the car a designer's touch. Chrome door handles come standard on the 1.8-litre version while the lesser 1.6-litre gets a body-coloured type. Both our test cars also came shod with 16-inch alloys wrapped in 205/60 R-16 Kumho tyres.

The rear is where Chevrolet didn't seem to put in much effort though. On hindsight, it could easily be mistaken as the Civic's or even Cerato Forte's for that matter. And it would be nice to see a chrome exhaust tip peeking out of the rear bumper...

 


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